Album Reviews

The Kills – Keep On Your Mean Side

(Domino) UK release date: 10 March 2003

The Kills - Keep On Your Mean Side When The Kills supported Primal Scream on their tour around the UK last December, they came across like a pair of chain smoking backstage types giving it some loose garage Blues Explosion / Royal Trux for beginners. Looking as if they had just enjoyed an afternoon of extremely hard drugs, it would only be a matter of time before the sweaty feral sex began.

Hotel and VV (or, if you’re their mums: Jaime and Alison) first met after exchanging tapes by post.Hotel’s previous experience was in the underrated Scarfo, but it was only when VV eventually moved to the UK that TheKills started to take shape.

Aided by only a drum machine – they stopped just short of making it a member, as the only two drummers they wanted were either Mo Tucker or Bobby Gillespie – our heroes playa stripped down punk some blues which keys in on all the very ‘now’ and ‘yeah’ reference points, but escape intact with something that’s uniquely them.

Superstition has a nice bit of PJ Harvey tension, with smidgeons of Sonic Youth and Patti Smith, as does the strut some Cat Claw, whilst Kissy Kissy is so Velvets you half expect a smacked upGerman model to start droning tunelessly over it. The splendid Black Rooster just holds off – bar

references to Lancashire – from becoming a Fall song, but pick of the bunch is the catchy, if not exactly cd:uk friendly Fuck The People.

Keep On Your Mean Side is marvellous, rockin’ album, but really should come with a health warning. It’s the sound of scuffed shoes and bad diets of fags and crisps, the sound of sleazy backroom saucing – and it probably hasn’t changed its underwear lately either. Oh – and it’s rather fantastic too.

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The Kills @ Soho Revue Bar, London